Hearts Once Nourished With Hope and Compassion (Revelation)
by Tim Den
It’s no surprise that Shai Hulud‘s debut full-length has become revered in the nine years since its release. Hearts Once Nourished With Hope and Compassion not only introduced a well-executed, complex, multi-faceted, technically melodic metalcore band to the world, it predates the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan and countless rip-offs in terms of originality and approach. Long before your kid brother tried to play seven-fret-stretch hammer-ons, Shai Hulud were doing ’em while jump-kicking. So although bandleader/guitarist Matt Fox still thinks this album is flawed, the rest of us shall bow to its forward-thinking and ferocious attack.
I heard the album when it first came out, and to this day, it shocks me that vocalist Chad Gilbert (now in, ahem, New Found Glory) was barely 17 when this was recorded. The kid was an absolute BEAST at the mic, growling and barking with sky-splitting intimidation, clarity, and conviction. He has a sense of hardcore faith – the likes of which has been all but forgotten by the genre’s flirtations with the mainstream – that carries the songs from enraged ballet of violence to sincere, cathartic honesty. As a whole, Hearts Once Nourished With Hope and Compassion embodies youthful naïveté, teenage loyalty to an underground community, and especially – as the band acknowledge in the liner notes – the ’90s South Florida scene. Although I’d moved to Boston three years prior to Shai Hulud forming, I spent my childhood in Miami during the late ’80s/early ’90s, soaking up the sounds of everything from Black Flag, Death, to Lagwagon. And I was not alone. It seemed there was a pervasive pattern in our little underground community: Abrasive hardcore, melodic pop punk, and machine-like death metal were all devoured equally, producing many local acts that blended the three genres into something wholly South Floridian. By the time Shai Hulud emerged, the fusion was all but fully realized. So the band not only contributed a brand new face to hardcore, it represented a great achievement for 305. Fox: You still think this album is not worthy of praise?
Supposedly back together again (after breaking up for the millionth time and changing 3000 members), this reissue arrives perfectly in time for Shai Hulud to get their due. Hearts Once Nourished With Hope and Compassion is an important record – not to mention full of shape-shifting breakdowns and manic riffing – that deserves its place in history.